This post was originally published on 2 June 2016 and the content may be outdated.
Indian expatriates worldwide may soon be able to take more gold into their home country without paying customs duty, according to reports.
India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) is working on a new set of guidelines to ensure trouble-free customs clearances for those carrying jewellery for personal use.
Various options such as paying duty through cards or online are being considered.
Essentially, this would mean that based on valuation of jewellery, duty could be paid on entry and refunded when the person returns.
This would ensure that even if such jewellery is brought in and not taken back, customs duty would have been paid.
Non-resident Indians visiting India loaded with jewellery to attend a wedding or function and citizens going overseas carrying gold for similar occasions would also benefit from these new rules.
Free allowance for gold
Under Indian Customs rules, Non-Resident Indians must declare gold bullion and gold jewellery exceeding the free allowance, which is capped at Rs 50,000 (20 gram) for men and Rs 100,000 (40 gram) for women.
However, Indian women, who traditionally wear gold jewellery and visit India frequently for weddings and other occasions, feel the allowance is too low.
The stringent norms that were put in place to curb gold smuggling through personal baggage had led to problems for those bringing in jewellery for personal use.
Faced with “harassment” by customs officials at Indian airports, many are forced to pay heavy-duty or asked to leave the jewellery behind in lockers.
CBEC considering changes
The Central Board of Excise & Customs is readying a new set of guidelines that will make it easier at customs ports to bring in precious jewellery only for personal use under the baggage rules.
The initiative is part of CBEC’s ease-of-doing-business plan aimed at removing unnecessary hurdles.
“We are examining the norms,” a senior finance ministry official reportedly told Economic Times. “We understand that some people get jewellery for weddings and take it back as well.”
India imposes a 10 per cent duty on gold imports to reduce the amount of gold going inflow into the country in order to save precious foreign exchange, which the Asian economy needs to pay for other critical imports such as oil. It’s not immediately clear when the new rules will be announced.